Last year, I wrote about the wonders of GenCon as a first-time congoer. This year, I present to you a “10 Best Things about GenCon 2019”
10. Access to game developers. GenCon is unique in that it is one of the best places to be able to meet and talk with your favorite game’s developer. From small companies just starting up to some of the largest names in gaming, GenCon allows you to walk up and say hi. It’s so neat to be able to shake the hand of the person that made some of my favorite games.
9. The community. The people who run and attend GenCon are some of the most inclusive, nice con people I have met. Everywhere you look, you see LGBTQ+ inclusivity displayed in badge ribbons proclaiming members of the community and allies, as well as pronoun ribbons. Also, this community is, overall, a pretty safe one. I’ve seen bags be forgotten and still be where they were left an hour later. I’ve seen phones left on charging stations unattended, not messed with a bit. Kids and adults are treated with kindness and respect. Of course, there are always exceptions. However, there seem to be fewer at GenCon than many of the other conventions I have attended.
8. The organization of the convention. I touched on this in my article last year, but I can’t stress this enough! GenCon’s ticketing system is so awesome. Unlike some other conventions I have attended, there are seldom lines to wait in. Nearly every event, free or otherwise, is ticketed. You reserve spots to events ahead of time through their ticketing system. For the paid events, you can purchase generic tickets at GenCon HQ booths anytime and use them to attend, if the event isn’t full. This system nearly eliminates waiting in line for hours only to find out the panel you desperately wanted to see is full (no, I’m not salty, YOU’RE SALTY).
7. All the demos! At GenCon, you have the unique privilege of trying an endless number of classic and new board games, some of which haven't been released yet. I had the honor of playing the new Dune boardgame, and let me say it is so much fun! GenCon has an entire hall dedicated to demoing and playing an endless variety of games. It is definitely one of the best parts of GenCon and absolutely worth checking out.
6. GenCon beer. This one makes my top 10 list, as an adult of legal drinking age. Sun King Brewery, local to Indiana, has done it again this year. This years exclusive GenCon beer was Brewtron 9000, and it was delicious. A golden ale with hints of citrus, hibiscus, and yuzu, this beer was light enough to drink in the warm summer afternoon, and the tart flavor was a perfect quencher.
5. GenCon is a 24 hour con, which means there is always something to do. While the vendor hall closes at 6pm, the demo hall stays open all night. There are also several events throughout each night, and if Werewolf is your thing, you can play until near dawn in any of the many games hosted.
4. Swag! GenCon has some of the best merch of any convention I've been to. It's enough to make my little gamer heart sing with joy. Among some of the exclusive GenCon swag sold this year was The Innkeepers Secret, this delicious tea from Dryad Teas. Also exclusive to GenCon was a really nifty deck vault from BCW Supplies, and so much more.
3. It's big, without being too spread out. There is a lot of convention to GenCon. It takes up the entire convention center and spills over into the Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as a few other spots. But as massive as it is, it's still pretty accessible. Everything seems to be just around the corner.
2. The Game Library. This is one of my favorite features. On the field of Lucas Oil, there's a magical spot called the game library. You pay a few tickets and get a library card. You can then check out a game to play in that area. They have a MASSIVE collection of games brought by many different people. They have everything from Whitechapel to 1313 Dead End Drive. If a game looks fun but you don't know how to play, you can grab one of their designated table flags and set it beside you so indicate you need help learning the game. Someone usually comes by to hwlp. Wanna play a game but don't have enough players? There's a flag for that, too.
1. Artemis. GenCon hosts an Artemis space every year on the Lucas Oil field. If you're a fan of Star trek or really any sci-fi space travel and you've never played Artemis, you should definitely check it iut. Artemis is a really neat spaceship bridge simulator. You choose your role from scientist, fighter, engineering and more. Each person sees a different screen depending on their role, and the goal is to communicate efficiently and keep your ship in the sky, while facing hostile enemies and other obstacles. It's a bunch of fun and it's easy to immerse yourself. GenCon has several Artemis stations set up, including two deluxe setups that look like the bridge of a spaceship.
All in all, GenCon is a blast. If you love gaming, you should definitely check out this convention!